Preparing for the Test

Why is it “Which group of people was brought to the US and sold into slavery?” Shouldn’t it be the other way round? Sold into slavery and then brought to the US?

Writing Grants

I’m glad I’m not in the sciences because then I’d have to write grants once a year instead of once every 8 years. It’s not an unhelpful process. You get to plan and all that. But I hate writing anything that I won’t publish. I have an article and a conference talk that are languishing while I’m wasting my life on this paperwork. 


Klara learned the word “fork.” Of course, in her rendition it sounds much closer to a profanity than to fork. 

She carries a little toy fork with her everywhere and drops it constantly. Passersby we very weirded out whenever she yells, “Fork!” It’s good that this is not a society where people feel entitled to communicate their reactions in any way.

Democracy Cracks

I can’t believe Spain’s democracy is collapsing again. I was so sure this time it would stick. Everybody was sure. But soon after the doubts appeared as to whether it had been done right back in 1978, the whole thing began to crumble. Last year, there was a whole stretch of time, almost 10 months, when no government could be elected. And now this whole sorry debacle with Catalonia. 

One can blame Catalonians, one can blame the PP government, one can easily blame them all. But the larger reason is that it’s simply a young, weak democracy that’s collapsing under the pressure that all democracies are feeling right now.


This morning, I received 11 (eleven!) entirely inessential emails from colleagues about completely non-urgent committee stuff. I’m not responding because I have a life. 

No administrator or publisher has ever done anything like this to me. Ever. And then I’ll hear tons of moaning about how the evil outside forces are making people sacrifice their weekends to the gods of neoliberalism. Yeah, right. 

Suffering Idiocy

Every single time, these email discussions with colleagues end with me wailing, “Never again!” and throwing shoes at the computer screen. 

Most of the colleagues are wonderful people who write great comments. But there are always one or two congenitally aggravating individuals who say things like, “You can’t expect the administration to hand out gifts to you in exchange for nothing.” Because cost-of-living increases after 4 years of no raises are somehow a gift. From the administration. In exchange for nothing. I’m sitting on my ass doing nothing and expecting strangers to make me gifts of their own money. That’s exactly what is happening, totally. Made complete sense to get a PhD to come up with this particular gem of logical thinking.

I do not suffer idiocy gladly.  

I Smell Shit

Believe me, folks, I hate being an obsessive, one-issue person. And I never participate in the reductive “administration is evil by default” rhetoric. I loved both the Chancellor and the Provost who worked here when I was first hired. The Chancellor was a bit too in love with promoting athletics and doing marketing for my liking. But he honestly tried to do right by the faculty, and he was largely successful. The Provost was a very professional, inspiring person.

Right now, I’m very pleased with our Dean and several (if not all) people in his office. I’m Eastern European, so I respond well to hierarchical structures and authority. I have a military mentality and like clearly outlined ranks of authority. I like both giving and following orders. 

But for those very reasons, I detest it when people overstep their mandate and try to exercise power they aren’t entitled to. I get very very angry when somebody begins to act like a petty tyrant because guess what? I’m Eastern European. I can smell this kind of rank shit from a hundred miles away.